Blue Coat Systems, Inc. today announced that its Blue Coat PacketShaper appliances are now capable of delivering instant awareness of Web applications and content using “classification by URL category” functionality. With the new features, PacketShaper appliances provide control that can immediately manage new Web applications and content without requiring updates or new policies.
“Today, HTTP traffic is increasingly business related, yet most organizations do not have visibility into this traffic type, making it impossible to distinguish between business-critical Web applications and those that could be harmful, not to mention all the Web content in between like social networking and video,” said Cindy Borovick, vice president of enterprise communications infrastructure and datacenter networks at IDC. “Companies must be able to clearly differentiate Web traffic in a way that is fine-grained and can scale with the growth of new content and applications.”
PacketShaper appliances can now utilize the cloud-based Blue Coat WebPulse service, a community of 70 million users that provides comprehensive Web awareness through shared information, to understand and categorize Web applications and content in real time. This integration with the WebPulse service enables PacketShaper appliances to categorize tens of millions of Websites and billions of URLs into 80 logical and manageable categories, allowing organizations to collectively manage and apply policies to similar content. The new classification by URL category functionality is available on all existing PacketShaper appliances as a software upgrade.
With the WebPulse service, each URL can be classified in up to four distinct categories, enabling more precise and granular visibility into and management of Web applications and content. For example, an organization can allow access to Facebook for status updates and chat while limiting bandwidth allocated to Facebook games.
With classification by URL category integrated into Blue Coat PacketShaper appliances, organizations can create policies today that automatically apply to newly discovered content and applications without the need to download new signatures, change configurations or create a new policy. For example, when a new online game is discovered, it is classified in the Games category, and the PacketShaper appliance immediately controls it based on the defined policy for the category.
Traditional solutions that attempt to discover applications based on domain name lack the scalability and flexibility to keep pace with the rapid growth of Web-based applications and content. These solutions require an IT manager to create a new policy for each new online game even if it is the same policy that is already in place for all other classified games. Without the ability to create and manage policies for a group of similar content, these solutions become extremely resource intensive and unmanageable as content and applications grow. Additionally, this approach doesn’t provide the granular differentiation to effectively control traffic from a site like Facebook, which encompasses many categories, including email, chat, videos and games, that an organization might want to manage differently.
In addition to updated features of PacketShaper, Blue Coat is introducing a new high performance PacketShaper appliance that more than doubles the performance of the PacketShaper 10000 appliance. With prices starting at $55,000 and scheduled for availability in December 2010, the PacketShaper 12000 appliance can manage up to 3 Gbps of aggregate throughput for typical enterprise traffic.
Blue Coat has also enhanced IntelligenceCenter, the central reporting platform for distributed PacketShaper appliances, to enable reporting on the new classifications by URL categories. The company says that IntelligenceCenter 3 also has a 10X increase in data collection scalability for enterprise-scale reporting and adds role-based access controls that provide flexibility to define specific roles and functions for network administrators. With role-based controls, organizations can define actions, including viewing reports, managing alerts and changing topologies, for specific resources that could include devices, regions or sites.
PacketShaper 8.6 and IntelligenceCenter 3 are both available immediately as a software upgrade for all customers with an appropriate support contract.